International Menstrual Hygiene Day – 28th May

28.5.2020
Hyvä hallinto ja julkisen hallinnon kehittäminen
Development Consulting

Why on earth is the 28th May International Menstrual Hygiene Day? And why do we have to talk about such an embarrassing subject? Couldn’t women just keep it secret?

In fact, it is very important that we talk about menstruation openly. It is a fact of life. Half of the world’s population menstruates for half of their lives! The only reason we are alive is because our mother had a menstrual cycle. Poor women and rich, students and professionals, all of us menstruate.

Yet in most countries it remains a source of embarrassment. In western countries, teenagers often are shy about buying pads or tampons, and refer to ‘the curse’. Until recently, advertisements for pads showed girls playing tennis or swimming, referred obliquely to ‘that time of month’ and used blue liquid to represent blood! No wonder boys had no idea what they were talking about!

In some countries, it is impossible to buy sanitary pads or other materials (particularly during the current pandemic), and women have to use old rags. Imagine being in a difficult situation, such as a refugee camp, with no way staying clean. Girls in many countries stop attending school – either for a few days a month during their period, or permanently - due to the embarrassment, lack of a locked toilet where they can change or wash, or because their teacher forbids it. Everywhere that disposable sanitary materials are used, there can be problems of environmentally-safe disposal. Sometimes there are even more significant taboos. In some parts of Nepal or India, women are banished to a chhaupadi hut during menstruation, and aren’t allowed to touch others, use the toilet, enter their kitchen, or eat nutritious food. On the other hand, in some countries such as Zambia, women receive a day off each month for their period, the so-called Mother’s Day.

So why should we celebrate the 28th May? Because the average woman cycles for 28 days, and on average she bleeds for 5 days. It’s easy to remember! Let’s talk about menstruation openly and encourage women to feel comfortable to manage their menstruation with dignity.

Training in reusable sanitary pad production in two projects implemented in Nepal by FCG
Training in reusable sanitary pad production in two projects implemented in Nepal by FCG
Training in reusable sanitary pad production in two projects implemented in Nepal by FCG
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PAMELA WHITE
Senior Manager, Natural Resources Management and Climate
+358 40 760 7960